PDA

View Full Version : 2008 C30 - the unVolvo!


Valentine One Radar Detector

Eric
12-03-2007, 08:21 AM
Volvo's strongest selling points - safety, solidity, good value - have one big downside: These attributes don't do much to light the fires of enthusiast drivers. And now that so many other cars of all brands and types have caught up to Volvo on the safety/solidity/value fronts - or at least, come pretty close - something more is needed.

That's why the C30 has been added to the mix. It's an all-new Volvo that's nothing like the rest of the Swedish automaker's lineup - either looks-wise or spiritually.

It's a low-slung fastback coupe powered by a high-performance turbocharged five-cylinder engine backed up by a six-speed manual transmission - not some thoughtfully over-programmed, won't-let-you-do-anything-for-yourself "manu-matic." (Though a five-speed auto is available for those who want it.)

And it gets better the closer you look.

Do a walk-around:

Check the dramatically un-Volvo bodywork - from pointy snout to arched haunches to fastback-style rear glass. It's actually exciting to look at and not merely practical. Function even takes a back seat to form in details such as the headlight assemblies - which are perched way out and to the sides on either flank. Sharp-looking but also (dare we say it?) potentially vulnerable.

Not what you'd expect from Volvo.

Now take a gander at the contrast-color integrated lower body kit that flutes outward at the chin and along the rocker panels. Radical. The thing even has a pair of gattling gun exhaust tips punching out of the lower rear bumper. It's almost like seeing the Queen of England in a thong. (Well, ok... a younger version of her in a thong, anyhow.)

Now step back and view it from 20 yards away. The whole shell's canted forward, into the wind - steep windshield rake, high beltline and huge rear tail-lights that run from the top of the hatchback glass down to the lip of the opening.

There is the promise of exciting times.

But does this new Volvo deliver the goods in addition to the looks?

On power/performance the C30 more than makes the cut. The standard turbo'd in-line five (an unusual type of engine that's got more pistons than a comparable displacement four-cylinder but which is about half a liter smaller than most current V-6s) offers 227 horsepower. That's only 23 horsepower less than VW's hot-shoe R32 - and in a much lighter package - 2,970 lbs. vs. 3,500lbs. - and with a real-deal manual transmission that the VW doesn't even offer. It's also a lot less expensive than the VW - $22,700 for openers; around $28k loaded up - vs. almost $33k for the R32.

The C30 also looks solid when stacked up against "prestige brand" sport hatches and coupes such as the Audi A3 ($25,930 to start; smaller, less potent 2.0 liter, 200 hp engine) and the BMW 3-Series (much more expensive at $35,300 to start; 3 liter six; just 230 hp). The Audi does offer AWD (the Volvo doesn't) and the BMW's rear-wheel-drive (the Volvo's FWD) but these are relative pros and cons you'll have to decide on yourself. The objective point is the C30's got a lot to offer relative to these competitors - and makes its offer at a far more accessible price point, too.

The all-new Mini Cooper S ($21,200) is a closer shave for the Volvo. It, too, packs a turbocharged engine that develops a nice whallop (172 hp) in a featherlight package (2,668 lbs.). But the Volvo's still quicker (0-60 comes up in about 6.6-6.7 seconds vs. 6.9 or so for the Mini S) and - let's face it - is more prestigious and upscale.

Also: As cute as the Mini surely is and as fun as the little frogger is to thread through heavy traffic, it's also very tiny - even for a sporty car. In contrast, the C30's got enormous cargo-carrying capacity in the hatch area behind the back seats - 20 cubic feet vs. less than six cubic feet for the Mini. That's not just a huge difference, numbers-wise (literally more than three times as much space) it's also the difference between a car that could be used as an every day driver - and one that almost forces you to buy a second car for every day use.

And the ngatives?

Some critics have faulted the C30 for not feeling as "sharp" as other sporty compacts - but that was not my experience. Maybe these critics didn't like the discreteness of the C30's turbo - which only gives a hint of its presence via a light whistle under boost that is barely audible - vs. a sudden power spike (often preceded by a flat spot for the second or so it takes the turbo to spool up) that often comes with a turbocharged engine.

But there's no boost gauge in the C30; no "turbo" badges on the flanks. And it's clear Volvo's intent was tractable, linear power delivery - the feel of a larger, naturally aspirated six with the economy potential of a four. This is precisely how the C30's 2.5 liter five feels. It works well in almost any gear at any speed. Sixth is almost superfluous at anything less than 60 mph, in fact. Even in fourth, the RPMs don't rise to uncomfortable, must-upshift-now levels until well past legal speeds. Passing in fifth is feasible. Just push down on the gas; the C30 accelerates strongly.

Mileage is decent, too - close to 30 on the highway, nearly 20 in town.

As far as handling - well, the ride's not as firm as a BMW's and the steering's not "surgically precise" - but that doesn't mean the C30 can't take a curve - or that it isn't enjoyable to run hard. I found the ride/handling of my tester (which had the optional "Dynamic" sport-tuned suspension) to be nicely balanced between the extremes of a darty, feel-every-pebble street-racer (think Mitsubishi EVO) and the over-soft rolling Barcalounger numbness of something big and boozy like the Lexus SC430.

These things are very subjective anyhow - one man's too-harsh is another's not-firm-enough. You'll have to drive the car yourself - and cross shop it against competitors from Audi, BMW and the rest to know how it works for you.

One thing's for sure: Volvo finally has an interesting sport hatch that's certainly worth a look-see if you're in the market for a car of this type.

Buyer's note: Volvo's adopted some software-like lingo to structure the C30 - whose prices begin at $22,700 for the 1.0 version and run to $25,700 for the more loaded 2.0 version. Both get the same drivetrain, but the 2.0 gets larger 18-inch rims (17s are standard), the very attractive body kit, some aluminum interior trim pieces and a booming, ultra-premium Dynaudio 650 watt, 10-speaker surround sound stereo rig. AC and most power equipment are standard in both versions - with the notable exception of cruise control, which is a few hundred bucks extra on the base 1.0 model. However, all C30s get the full array of safety equipment, as you'd expect from Volvo - including electronic traction and stability control, ABS, side-impact and full-row curtain air bags.

There are lots of individual options available, too - including bi-xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers, seat heaters, headlight washers, Sirius satellite radio, retractable outside mirrors, laminated side glass, GPS and Volvo's Blind Spot Information System - plus the Dynamic Chassis sport suspension upgrade mentioned earlier that's a good choice to make if you want to make the most of the C30 in the corners.

It's also only $275 extra.

Disco Man
12-03-2007, 03:08 PM
As I said in my post last month, I like this car. It's got character and its the first exciting new Volvo I can ever remember.

For article with pictures go to the below link:

http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/images/stories/automotive/volvo/c30/08c3-s.jpg


http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=325&Itemid=10808

misterdecibel
12-03-2007, 07:56 PM
How is this mini-wagon a "fastback"???

swamprat
12-03-2007, 09:05 PM
I wish this car was RWD like the old Volvo 1800.

Eric
12-04-2007, 07:51 AM
I wish this car was RWD like the old Volvo 1800.


That would have made it even better, but the car's still a lot of fun and a nice package, overall.

Dave Brand
12-04-2007, 09:21 AM
Oh look.....a Volvo Focus! ;D

Eric
12-04-2007, 09:29 AM
Oh look.....a Volvo Focus! ;D


That's a bit harsh, I think.

For one, the C30 does not share drivetrains with the Focus; for another, it's very affordable relative to other "prestige hatches" yet offers as much or more in the way of power/performance/fun to drive qualities.

Looks are subjective, of course. But the stuff I just mentioned is objectively praisworthy....

misterdecibel
12-04-2007, 12:55 PM
Oh look.....a Volvo Focus! ;D


That's a bit harsh, I think.

For one, the C30 does not share drivetrains with the Focus; for another, it's very affordable relative to other "prestige hatches" yet offers as much or more in the way of power/performance/fun to drive qualities.




In Europe, the C30 and Focus share a platform and some drivetrain elements. Both are based on the Mazda 3 platform.

What are the other "prestige hatches" you're comparing it to? It's pricier than a VW GTI, maybe not quite as dear as an Audi A3. What else is there? What's the price for the MINI Clubman?

Eric
12-04-2007, 02:49 PM
"What are the other "prestige hatches" you're comparing it to? It's pricier than a VW GTI, maybe not quite as dear as an Audi A3. What else is there? What's the price for the MINI Clubman?"

Audi A3; BMW 3 (or 1), VW GTI/R32...

At $22,700 to start, the C30 is not "pricier" than the GTI - which has a base MSRP of $22,730. It is in fact $30 cheaper.... and compared with the R32, the C30's a steal!

misterdecibel
12-04-2007, 06:44 PM
"What are the other "prestige hatches" you're comparing it to? It's pricier than a VW GTI, maybe not quite as dear as an Audi A3. What else is there? What's the price for the MINI Clubman?"

Audi A3; BMW 3 (or 1), VW GTI/R32...

At $22,700 to start, the C30 is not "pricier" than the GTI - which has a base MSRP of $22,730. It is in fact $30 cheaper.... and compared with the R32, the C30's a steal!


How much is the premium handling suspension option? 'Cause you gotta add that to make a base C30 equivalent to a base GTI.

Eric
12-04-2007, 08:57 PM
"What are the other "prestige hatches" you're comparing it to? It's pricier than a VW GTI, maybe not quite as dear as an Audi A3. What else is there? What's the price for the MINI Clubman?"

Audi A3; BMW 3 (or 1), VW GTI/R32...

At $22,700 to start, the C30 is not "pricier" than the GTI - which has a base MSRP of $22,730. It is in fact $30 cheaper.... and compared with the R32, the C30's a steal!


How much is the premium handling suspension option? 'Cause you gotta add that to make a base C30 equivalent to a base GTI.


Less than $300...

l3it3r
12-06-2007, 03:32 PM
This car does exactly what volvo wanted. It gets attention.
My sister, who's had a Volvo XC90 and now a Hyundai Veracruz (another great vehicle), saw one parked behind her at her office and fell in love with the new design. She immediately called me and asked what the deal was. A couple of my friends and I were checking this out last year at SEMA (Evolve race car), and they had it again this year in a more streetable getup. It's a successful design IMO. Little on the pricey side, but when well equiped, it compares nicely to the Mini Cooper S / Mini Cooper Clubman S.

misterdecibel
12-06-2007, 03:44 PM
I think Volvo hit a home run with this car. "If it looks right it probably is right." I hope it's a huge success for them.

Eric
12-11-2007, 04:50 PM
I think Volvo hit a home run with this car. "If it looks right it probably is right." I hope it's a huge success for them.


Me too; I really enjoyed the week I spent with one. It was straightforward as far as the controls, etc. - and fun to drive. Maybe not as fierce or sharp as some others, but very pleasant, with ample power in all gears at any speed under 100 mph, capable, predictable handling and a very comfortable interior.

Nothing to dislike - that I could come up with - and lots to like. I also hope it does well!

misterdecibel
12-12-2007, 05:22 AM
Have you driven the turbocharged S40 or V40? I've been hearing good things about those for the past couple of years. And of course they are mechanically related to the S30.

Eric
12-12-2007, 07:51 AM
Have you driven the turbocharged S40 or V40? I've been hearing good things about those for the past couple of years. And of course they are mechanically related to the S30.


Yes - and they're both perfectly good cars - but like many modern Volvos, also kind of anodyne, both in terms of their style and their driving characteristics. A lot of that is subjective and personal, I realize - but to me, the C30 is the first Volvo in a long time that has real appeal for the enthusiast driver. I also like that it lacks the pretentiousness of a BMW or Benz, much as I admire both those brands' engineering and driving qualities.

l3it3r
12-12-2007, 08:34 AM
Here's some photos I took at SEMA 2006 of the 'evolve' C30 race car - 'thing'...

There were WAY too many people in the Ford/Volvo area to get decent photos :-\

http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20217.jpg
http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20218.jpg
http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20219.jpg
http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20220.jpg
http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20221.jpg
http://l3it3r.com/gallery/albums/SEMA_Concept_Photos/slides/Picture%20222.jpg

Eric
12-12-2007, 09:00 AM
Damn, those am some big calipers!

(Love the "van by the river" thing.... Chris Farley was hilarious!)

misterdecibel
12-12-2007, 12:48 PM
And big disks to go with them.

Dave Brand
12-13-2007, 08:57 AM
Damn, those am some big calipers!


They should help the discs retain lots of heat!

chiph
12-13-2007, 11:11 AM
That's what I was thinking -- not enough area exposed to the air means that they'll never properly cool.

Chip H.

l3it3r
12-13-2007, 11:14 AM
If you look at the new CL63, the brakes calipers are as equally massive.

Kwozzie1
12-30-2007, 09:43 PM
That's why the C30 has been added to the mix. It's an all-new Volvo that's nothing like the rest of the Swedish automaker's lineup - either looks-wise or spiritually.


I saw one on the road here a couple of days ago....I like it.

Eric
12-31-2007, 08:56 AM
That's why the C30 has been added to the mix. It's an all-new Volvo that's nothing like the rest of the Swedish automaker's lineup - either looks-wise or spiritually.


I saw one on the road here a couple of days ago....I like it.



Me too; I enjoyed the week I spent in one. Fun to drive and very "usable." I hope it does well!